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Among an estimated 100,000 varieties of mushrooms, four stand out for their potent healing properties: maitake, shiitake, reishi, and the common white button. The first three have been used in Asia for 2,000 years to treat various ailments, and the last has antioxidant levels as high as the rest. Initial findings suggest that all four support heart health and fight cancer. Maitake, shiitake, and white button mushrooms are rich in dietary fibers, including cholesterol-lowering chitin, and immunity-boosting beta-glucan. Reishi, a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory, is also known for boosting immunity, and for enhancing mood, relieving altitude sickness, supporting liver function, and lessening asthma symptoms.

Choose It & Use It
Reishis can go in soups and sauces but are best consumed as tea. (Grind 4 grams of dried mushrooms in a coffee grinder. Steep 30 minutes in 2 cups of boiling water. Strain through a coffee filter.) Maitakes can be steeped similarly, grilled, fried, or sautéed. Popular in veggies and pasta, shiitakes have many culinary uses. White buttons are even more versatile: add slices to sandwiches, or sauté them in oil to enhance entrées and sauces. White buttons and portobellos are easy to find at supermarkets, but fresh, exotic varieties can be hit-or-miss. Stock up on dried mushrooms, which, after a soak in hot water (30 minutes for pieces; 1 hour for whole mushrooms), can replace fresh in recipes. Added bonus: the soaking liquid can be used in place of broth in sauces or soups.

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Comments on this Article

I love the carrot dip with crushed walnuts and olives, it was delishios and yummy in my tummy but, it was a real shame because my mum and dad didn't trie it I think they really, really, really would have loved it to peaces, eny way thank you for putting it on the google website.

In an issue of Vegetarian Times in 1998, there was a recipe for Mushroom-Barley Soup. I have lost the second page of this recipe and was hoping to make for tonight's supper. It was under Basics and Recipes on the internet. Can you find it and send it to me? I tried finding it on your current web page but couldn't...The ingredients I do have are: 6 cups water, 2 medium carrots, 2 ribs celery, 1 medium tomato, ½ cup uncooked barley, 1 tsp. fresh thyme, tarragon, rosemary or a combination. Thanks.

Hi Ghisele, I've checked the recipe index of each issue from 1998 and don't see a recipe for Mushroom-Barley Soup. Are you sure of the recipe title and year? Here is a link to past issues of VT on Google Books if you'd like to browse on your own: I

LIMA BEAN STEW Frozen cooked lina beabs are best. But if using dried Lima beans, soak overnight in filtered or distilled water. Rinse beans and then place lima beans in either a cast-iron pot or a good clay pot with onions and lots of garlic. Cook until beans are soft. Add tarragon after heat is turned off and wait 1/2 an hour before serving, so tarragon can really infuse into lima beans. Add Liquid Braggs Amino Acids for flavor. Delicious and very high in amino acids. serving with a whole grain and/or salad. BARLEY STEW WITH MUSHROOMS Chop up onions (or leeks), celery and carrots into small pieces. Add to pot with barley. Cook at least one hour or until barley is soft. Then turn off heat and add any good mushroom powder - I recommend buying from Also add Liquid Braggs Amino Acids for flavoring. If you choose to use whole mushrooms instead of an organic non-GMO powdered mushroom -, then sautée chopped up mushrooms first in butter or olive oil with onions and garlic. Then add vegetables, barley and water and cook. Great for immune system - especially when feeling run-down, with a cold or flu, weak or tired.

Leave a comment...very useful information for heart patients.